This sermon is part of the sermon series "Acts: The Rest of the Story". See series.
One of the ministers at this church the television show 24 because of the things that Jack Bauer never has to do: eat, charge his cell phone, heal from his wounds, go to the bathroom, say "please," or use money to pay for things. I like 24 for a different reason. I like 24 because bad stuff happens. Bad stuff happens in other shows, but not like in 24. In 24, main characters—good guys—get killed all the time. Sometimes Jack even kills them! One time on the show, a nuclear bomb that Jack was trying to keep from detonating, actually went off! Those things just don't happen in other shows.
I think that's one reason I like the Bible so much: the Bible is realistic about how really bad stuff happens. First of all, its heroes do bad stuff. Abraham lied. David committed adultery and murder. Peter denied Christ. Moses spent most of his life heading for the Promised Land, but he wasn't able to enter it, because he lost his temper. Then after hundreds of years in the Promised Land, God gets so fed up with his chosen people that he allows them to be hauled off into exile. Then you have stories like the one in Numbers 16, in which the people of Israel are in the wilderness and a guy name Korah and a group of Levites rebel against Moses. As a result, the Bible says, the earth literally opened up and swallowed 250 of them. Stuff like that didn't happen in Gunsmoke. But it does happen in 24, and it does happen in life.
Many of these stories warn us that God takes our sin and rebellion seriously; that he's not a God to trifle with; that when you try to fool the Lord you're only fooling yourself.
In Acts 5 we come to a story from the early church that illustrates this very truth. Remember that Peter and John had just ...
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